On Sunday, Barcelona knocked off Granada 4-1 on goals from Luis Suárez, Paco Alcácer, Ivan Rakitic, and Neymar, despite concern from fans about how the club would perform without Lionel Messi, who missed the match due to a suspension for picking up his fifth booking of the season. Barça came into the game two points behind Real Madrid in the battle atop the table, but couldn’t gain any ground as Los Blancos also picked up three points with a 3-0 victory over Alavés after goals from Karim Benzema, Isco, and Nacho.
Barcelona, still sitting behind Real Madrid by two points, has played 29 matches this season just like every almost every other team in La Liga. However, Real Madrid has only played 28 matches as a February 5th match against Celta Vigo was postponed due to damage to Celta Vigo’s stadium being damaged during a storm days before the match was scheduled to be played. Officials feared that playing the game could lead to potential injuries as the roof hadn’t been repaired in time for the match.
The reigning La Liga and Copa Del Rey champs won the league by just one point over Real Madrid, and three over Atlético Madrid last year. While this year’s third place Atlético Madrid isn’t as close as they were last year, last year’s results did show that Barça knows how to claw their way to a title. Barcelona’s remaining schedule isn’t all that difficult outside of a very important matchup against their biggest rival Real Madrid. On the other side of things, Real Madrid has matches against rivals Atlético Madrid and and Barça remaining so it definitely isn’t an easy road remaining for the league leaders.
Down two points and with one less match to make up the points, Barça seems to be backed into a corner, but if there’s anything we’ve ever learned, it’s to never count out this team. Just earlier this year we saw Barcelona’s historic Champions League comeback against Paris Saint-Germain after being down 4-0 after the first leg. Even after conceding a goal that made it seem as if their chances of advancing were gone, Barça still fought back and were able to win 6-1 in the second leg for a 6-5 aggregate win.
The team showed that they can still rout an opponent without Lionel Messi and with a strong lineup that can get hot at any time, Barça is without a doubt still in the running for the La Liga title, but the April 23 El Clásico will more than likely decide a league champion, although Barcelona will need some help with some draws or a loss or two for Real Madrid. So it is definitely possible for the Barcelona to top Real Madrid and pick up their 25th league title and I think they will pull it off.